From August, 2002
Roy Keane ghostwrites
“I’d waited almost 180 minutes for Alfie, three years if you looked at it another way. Now he had the ball on the far touchline. Alfie was taking the piss. I’d waited long enough. I fucking hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that, you cunt. And don’t ever stand over me again sneering about fake injuries. And tell your pal David Wetherall there’s some for him as well.”
This article would not be on BfB if the Manchester United skipper did not mention the Bradford City skipper but the sentiments expressed are no less valid for the connection. Wetherall’s inclusion is a motivation but the truth is that all football should be speaking in one voice on this issue.
That voice should say: “Roy Keane should never be allowed to play football again”.
The book is Keane’s mea culpa. He looked like a thug, he played like a thug and now we see he has the prose style and attitude to match. It is unnecessary of course. I have watched Stuart McCall play the holding role in midfield with as much aggression as anyone, but he was only sent off once in over twenty years.
You could trust Stuart McCall never to try hurt another player. Trust is a key factor.
Football is a game built on a trust that players will play with a single motivation of trying to win games through fair means. Yes it is not true, we have all seen foul means used to win games and on occasion we have seen City use those means to win, but the trust is there.
Roy Keane breaks that trust.
Kevin Gray does not. His assault on Gordon Watson was the worst thing I had seen on a football field I would not be upset if the guy had gone to Armley but what he did was out of anger. It was clearly not premeditated.
The likes of Diego Maradona and Diego Simeone both cheated England in the past but they did it out of an all consuming desire to beat the old enemy. That does not break the trust.
Premeditation does. Keane stepped on the field with the aim of hurting a player and for me that should be the end for him.
Football can forgive mistakes, it can forgive acts of passion, but it should have no room for the vicious malicious targeting of opponents for assault.
Of course Roy Keane will not be thrown out of football. He is too valuable, he is too well paid, he is too Manchester United but what if the third round of the FA Cup throws up Manchester United coming to Valley Parade. What do you do with a player who has threatened to try end the career of another?
It’s not fair on the others to suspend Keane for games against David Wetherall so the only conclusion is to stop him from playing because there is no way that you could ask a professional like Wetherall to take the field knowing that one of the other side wants to break his leg.